14 June 2015


So I’ve been MIA for the last few months and I really want to start blogging again but I thought I owed some kind of explanation for my blogging silence.
This is probably going to be difficult for me as it’s hard to put into words but I’m going to try anyway as it may help someone one day.

Rewind back to January 2011, from the outside (and the inside but I’ll get into that later) I had a pretty great life. I was doing well in school, in my second last year, I had a great family, a lovely boyfriend and a handful of good friends. Pretty great, like I said. One day however, I tried to kill myself. That looks so weird and so meaningless, just a few words that mean something way bigger and more important. The details of that day are fuzzy. I can’t tell you if it was a Monday or a Tuesday, if it had been snowing or raining. What I can tell you is this. (Disclaimer that this could be a trigger to some people so skip the next few rows). At around 10pm I had a massive panic attack, I couldn’t breathe and I felt terrible. And then suddenly I had a huge pair of scissors in my hand and I slit my wrist. I can remember my mum and my boyfriend desperately trying to stop me. And that’s it, that’s all I remember from that night and that was when everything changed. And again, most of that year especially that time is still fuzzy so bear with me.

I missed a lot of school following that incident. I was taken to a doctor who diagnosed me with depression. It should be noted, and I am ashamed of this, that I was one of those people who didn’t understand mental illness at all and thought depression was just a case of a bad day and an over exaggeration. Obviously I know better now, a cruel way to teach me a lesson. I was given several different pills to take during the next few months and they were pretty much useless in my eyes because I didn’t miraculously feel better. So I stopped taking them.

I was sent to a psychologist and I told her everything about me. She suggested that my depression stemmed from my childhood, as I was bullied (physically and verbally) for a lot of my primary school years. For example I was once forced to climb out of window because two girls had thought it would be hilarious to lock me in a room. But it didn’t make sense to me, being depressed because of situations that I had already got over. She then tried to say it was due to my parents’ marriage failing but I had to ask myself ‘would I really try to die, to end my life, because of one tiny bad thing?. I should explain. My family had been through many terrible events, my older sister had cancer when she was a teenager (thankfully she is ok now) and my little sister had been in an awful bus crash (she is also ok now). Our family had been through our fair share of crappy situations and we had always bounced back. So why would this tiny thing make me want to die? I stopped going to see her shortly afterwards.

I had to see the headmistress of my school. I remember her saying that I could always come back whenever I wanted to. But I also remember her comparing me to a classmate who had been through a lot worse than I had. She basically told me that I had no right to feel this way. And that’s when I figured it out. I kept thinking ‘I don’t want this, I didn’t choose this’ and it was so true, it felt like a tiny weight off of my shoulders. I hadn’t chosen to feel this way, like I had to die, like I had to self-harm. It wasn’t a choice, it wasn't a feeling, as simple as that! It was something I had no control over, it was an illness, more specifically a mental illness, just like any other illness but with no visible symptoms.

It’s hard for people to wrap their head around it. An invisible illness. So many people I know can’t understand it, but not for lack of trying. The only people who really get it are the ones going through it too. I was told that people had spread rumours about me, that I was pregnant. It all felt like a sick joke. If only it were that simple.

I did try to return to school on several occasions, each time I had massive panic attacks and couldn’t get out of the car. From then on my anxiety made the smallest things difficult, like going out alone, getting buses, talking on the phone, etc. Talking about what was going on in my mind was impossible. Even now I’m not sure I can write exactly how I feel but I’ll give it a try. Some days are bad, some are worse and good days are rare. On the bad days, I don’t want to live. I feel so tired all the time and living and trying to act like everything is ok is so exhausting. It makes being productive so hard. The days that are worse are the ones filled with panic attacks and self-harming. It’s like I’m a ticking time bomb on those days, no one not even I know when it’ll get bad.

I would say I feel trapped. When asked to describe the experience, to draw it, I ended up drawing a dark corridor where the door to escape is so far away, no matter how hard I try to reach it, it keeps going further away. When I do have panic attacks and the moment before I self-harm, I can’t explain it at all. It’s like a huge, destructive pain that I can’t pinpoint so it feels like it’s all over. I can’t breathe and I can’t call for help. The only way I can end the feeling is by self-harming, which is obviously a terrible way to end it. There are voices in my head telling my to cut deeper, to end it all and I think those voices were the hardest thing that I had to come to terms with. Saying you have voices in your head is admitting that there is something seriously, mentally wrong. And it scared me. The fact that I could hear a version of myself, pointing out every bad thing, telling me to end my life, admitting to that terrified me. But it’s there and ignoring it won’t make it better. And it’s hard, having to live like it’s all ok, so as not to worry your loved ones. And sometimes the voices tell you that your loved ones don’t love you and that no one cares about you, not really. And it all takes it’s toll.

Fast forward to January of this year, and I could not shake the feeling that I was going to die soon. After three years of trying to cope with it all on my own  in secret, it felt like it had lead up to this moment and that I was going to end my life. Just a month before I had cut myself way too deep and I felt like I was losing control. For months I had felt like I was suffocating and I saw a way out, the voices were showing me a way out. I had a choice to make; give in and die or get help. So I got help. I went to my doctor in February, the one who had diagnosed me back in 2011 and I let it all out, I told him everything. I had made a list that included the pain everywhere, the fact that for 4 years I had been unable to sleep properly, that I had no motivation to do anything I once loved, that I felt like I had no future, the constant guilt, that my problems weren’t as bad as other people’s, the awful suffocating feeling that I couldn’t get rid of. And it felt so good to tell someone, it really did. And he said it must have been so hard to live with all of this and for once I felt like I was able to agree. I didn’t feel guilty anymore. Because, yes other people go through worse, but that doesn’t mean you should trivialise your own problems and never be sad.

Since then I’ve been going to CBT sessions and have been on new pills. And this time I knew there was no miraculous one second cure, but that it takes time and effort. Recovery is hard and it requires a huge amount of courage and patience. And I’ve noticed differences. I’ve finally started my driving licence, I got on a plane alone to visit my sister, I went for a walk on my own. Just a few days ago I managed to get a bus on my own. All little things to most people, but gigantic things to me. My favourite coping technique is to put content into context, which in short means reminding yourself that you are more than just your mind and your thoughts. You have to close your eyes and feel your feet on the ground, your back against your chair and breathe deeply. It's really soothing and can be helpful if you feel like you are having a panic attack.

I don’t feel like I can tell you exactly what to do if you are in the same position as me, everyone reacts to different treatments differently. But I can advise you to write everything down and go and see a doctor who can give you proper advice in order to help you out. It seems impossible but it is 100% possible. You just need a little shove in the right direction, a little patience and a little courage.
I'll leave a few helpful links here as well:


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